Abdominal acupuncture used to treat shoulder pain

Ambidextrous by necessity!

Russell was a large and very physical man who worked in the hospitality industry. He was in his late forties when he gradually developed arm and shoulder problems as a result of being over enthusiastic with his weights training program at the gym. He had, at various stages in the past used acupuncture to resolve problems such as sciatica and digestive issues. 

Over a period of a number of days following vigorous weight training programs his right arm and shoulder became more painful with an ever decreasing range of motion it was as if his right arm was gradually becoming redundant. As the days passed he had to do more and more daily tasks with his left arm as the right became more and more painful with even the slightest movements would send a sharp shock like sensation into his forearm and fingers. His work and personal life was suffering as a result and even simple tasks like holding a coffee cup was becoming an uncomfortable chore. 

The first treatment

Russell is not the type of guy who would let a small problem get him down but as a result of this shoulder pain he knew that he had to do something as it was progressively becoming more of a problem. He had initially tried a physiotherapist and he was frustrated with the fact that he was just given simple exercises to do which were similar to the warmup exercises he would do in the gym regularly.

He had forgotten about acupuncture until his wife had suggested that he come and see me. In his usual cheerful manner he explained how he had tried to manage this situation in the hope that it would just disappear or resolve itself over the course of time. It was becoming more and more obvious as time passed that the opposite was going to happen and he was having to learn how to do all kinds of things now with his left arm. The pain was affecting his sleep his quality of life and that of his wife!

We had a conversation about the onset of his problem and looked at his range of motion which was very minimal. It was obvious as he moved his arm in various directions that the pain at different stages was quite excruciating I suggested to him that that pain level was his reference point score of 10 out of 10, I asked Russell to make some more gentle movements and to observe exactly where the pain was affecting him and to score each area using the same base reference score of 10 out of 10.

I palpated the abdominal area and found some solid ahshi points which were about the size of the end loop on the handle of an acupuncture needle, these were particularly apparent in the area of the St 24 Shoulder (Huaroumen) and half way towards the Ab 1 (elbow) vicinity, there was a smaller (refined) sugar grain like ahshi point close to the Ab 2 (wrist) point, in an area that reflected SJ 5 (Waiguan). The main meridians affected were the hand Yang Ming Large Intestine (LI), the hand Shao Yang San Jiao and in the shoulder the area of Trapezius the Foot Shao Yang meridian was particularly affected at GB 21(Jian Jing). This was wearing him out and this new requirement to become ambidextrous was proving very challenging. 

Abdominal Acupuncture prescription & treatment protocol

I started with the (Lotus Flower) Abdominal Meridian System (AMS) opening treatment for a duration of fifteen minutes. This uses 8 needles (Bagua) placed within a 0.5 cun radius (the 0.5 cun measurement is derived from the St 25 (TianShu) 2 cun distance and divided by four) around the umbilicus similar to the main points on a compass starting from North to North East, then East etc., and working all the way around in a clockwise manner, once all needles are inserted superficially they were directed towards the wall of the umbilicus at a 45 degree angle to a depth of approximately 0.5cun or until you observe the needle behind the wall of the navel (do not puncture through the wall). This is a great way to prepare the abdominal meridian system for further treatment and also rebalance the immune, hormonal and nervous system by working on the Lungs, Spleen and Kidneys it is like rebooting her system and it often results in a reduction in pain, for this reason it is a good idea to reference the pain, as we did, before and after this part of the Abdominal Acupuncture session.

While the needles were in situ he relaxed and I saw another client. When I returned to Russell there was an obvious change in his posture, which had completely relaxed. After removing all the needles (in the same clockwise order as they were inserted) I asked him to once again check his pain levels, his base reference point score of 10 out of 10, had decreased in all areas and the range of motion had improved by around 50%. 

I proceeded with the intended prescription i.e. Ren 12 (Zhongwan), Ren 9 (Shuifen) Ren 6 (QiHai)  and Ren 4 (Guanyuan) with Sp 15 (Daheng). I used Kid 17 (Shangqu) bilaterally to  ease the tension and pain in the Trapezius on the affected side and to encourage Qi from

the Kidneys to move down the opposite (right) arm, this was followed with St 24 Shoulder (Huaroumen) Ab 1 (elbow) Ab 2 (wrist) and an ahshi point for each of the LI 14 (Bi Nao) and SJ 5 (Waiguan) areas as they were reflected on the abdomen, these were quite superficial. When I checked the pain it had further decreased to between 2 or 3 at all areas except for the wrist pain which at 5:10, I adjusted the Ab 2 (wrist) needle depth by withdrawing it approximately 0.1cun, I checked the level of discomfort and it had eased to 2:10, I left him to take a nap, after thirty minutes I removed all the needles and again reassessed the pain levels, it had improved overall by around 60% at this stage and the range of motion was also a lot better.   


Russell had two more Abdominal Acupuncture treatments the second one was three days after the first and he was delighted that the pain & range of motion had continued to improve for 2 days after the original session, the improvements using his original reference point score of 10 out of 10 as a barometer, he said the pain overall was maintained at 4:10. He was able to use his right arm again for normal routine things with little problems, however with more use, the pain would increase a little. After the second Abdominal Acupuncture session he was able to do more with his arm with only a fraction of the pain affecting him after continuous use! He was becoming more confident in favouring his right arm again! Four days after I saw him for the last time, his pain was down to a very healthy 1:10 all over and in this treatment I used a more minimal approach only using "Heaven & Earth" Ren 12 (Zhongwan) and Ren 4 (Guanyuan) with Kid 17 (Shangqu) bilaterally, St 24 Shoulder (Huaroumen) and Ab 2 (wrist) on the right. He messaged me 2 days later to say that he no longer had any problems. I spoke with him four months later and he was still pain free and was a happy contented right hand favouring individual again.

Once again Abdominal Acupuncture proved itself to me and my client, I was concerned initially that this problem would require at least six to eight treatments two per week spread over three or four weeks. It is great when Abdominal Acupuncture continues to surprise with amazing results!      


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